What’s your pen name and tell me about the books you like to write.
My name is Rachel Donohue. I like to write books set in quite closed worlds, where there is an intensity of feeling, emotion and a little weirdness too. I like mystery, mood and drama but I also want to explore some of the big questions of life about identity, love and death.
Social media link/account:
What character of yours would you cast an evil curse on if possible?
I think Helen in The Temple House Vanishing. She is a powerful prefect in Temple House school and uses her power and influence to alienate people. She likes to “other” some of the students and it has hugely damaging impacts. Everyone has met a “Helen” in their life, they are powerful and cruel.
What character of yours would you bless with a magical gift?
Definitely Louisa. She is the scholarship student who loses her way in this strict Catholic school, Temple House. I’d like her to be able to see into the soul of the people around her. She would be less vulnerable then.
What character of yours would you tell all your secrets to and why?
I think the journalist in The Temple House Vanishing. She strikes me as both rational and empathetic. I don’t think she’d write about my secrets, but maybe she would…
Write only one sentence about your novel without giving spoilers.
Two students meet at Temple House catholic school in Ireland in 1990, despite their very different backgrounds they form a close attachment that starts to unravel when they come under the influence of their charismatic Art teacher – then one of the students along with their teacher goes missing.
Show me a line you’re proud of writing.
“Mr Lavelle, my favorite teacher at Temple House, once said there is something inherently dark and powerful at play in adolescence. A kind of alchemy that takes place underneath the surface of everything, including your skin. It bursts out in different ways and, depending on the era in which you live through, it will be met with hysterical fear and damnation or just attempts at coercive control. It’s the necessary thwarting of an emergent power.”
The Temple House Vanishing.
What would your most epic villain say if warned not to do something?
I think she might laugh and then walk away into the night.
Tell me why you’re passionate about writing.
I think in stories, always have, it’s how I understand the world. For a long time I felt this made me different and outside of things but once I channeled that feeling into writing I sort of understood myself better. I felt like I’d returned home. Writing is part of who I am, it balances me.
What book do you want to read next?
Because its October I think something spooky and weird.
What are your 2022 goals:
To finish my next book.
Social media links/contact:
Rachel Donohue is from Dublin in Ireland and her debut novel is The Temple House Vanishing. (Algonquin Books)